We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the Old Year

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us.

Lauren Caitlin Upton, eloquently the making the case for home schooling.

38 comments to Samizdata quote of the Old Year

  • veryretired

    Beauty pagent-supermodel types and athletes should grace us with their physical skills and attributes, and keep their mouths shut.

    Acceptable comments are “I kicked the ball, and there it was in the back of the net!” and “I’m going to open a boutique.”

    Anything more complex, especially sentences with multiple clauses, or actual attempted thoughts about “big” subjects, are to be discouraged for the good of both the speaker and the unfortunate listener.

    This rule also generally applies to actors and other celebrities, with some exceptions for those few who actually are somewhat witty and charming, as long as they don’t try to think too hard.

    It’s painful to watch someone’s brain hurt.

  • Love that quote !

    Can we have some video footage.. no wait.. maybe some photo shoots of the spokesperson, in bikinis :)

  • Huh?

    And that, Ed P, is the correct answer to that quote!

  • Ken

    Map? I has map, where ya’ wanna be? (other than where yer ‘at?)

  • Ann NY

    evidently you haven’t seen this:

    (Link)

  • Lauren Caitlin Upton is a total babe, a real doll. Ok, I admit she’s got no more brains than God gave grits, but when you look like that, who needs to think?

  • renminbi

    Oh, Lauren probably has brains-it’s just that they’re not between her ears.

  • Boy, this is so sad, but yet so damn funny! Also, I am sure there is a very similar video where the speaker (so to speak) is a brunette, but it will be never shown.

    Perry, I am all for the state getting out of the education business, but this has nothing to do with it. I can assure you she would not have done any better had she grown up in an ideal libertarian state.

  • Ivan

    The posters in this thread seem to enjoy the opportunity to lash out on Miss Upton, but I think their criticisms can be effectively countered by two words: rational ignorance.

    Realistically speaking, my (pretty high) ability to find my way around the world map doesn’t increase my earning potentials by a single cent, and the same is the case for at least 95% of other people. Some of us choose to acquire this knowledge because we enjoy some spare-time activities for which it’s necessary, or of which it is a byproduct — but this isn’t more significant than, for example, the fact that I sometimes come off as horribly ignorant about many aspects of the contemporary pop culture. Altogether, there is no reason to sneer at people for having a different preferences for acquisition of professionally useless knowledge. This goes not only for one’s map-reading skills, but also for the meta-issue of one’s informed opinion on the map-reading skills of other people.

    It takes an exceptional level of rhetorical and weaseling skills to avoid coming off as an idiot when asked about an unfamiliar topic under the conditions of such overwhelming stagefright. Miss Upton has indeed demonstrated her inability to weasel out, but the vast majority of people would also be under serious danger of getting their tongue twisted equally badly (or even worse) in an analogous situation.

    veryretired:

    Anything more complex, especially sentences with multiple clauses, or actual attempted thoughts about “big” subjects, are to be discouraged for the good of both the speaker and the unfortunate listener.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that unlike in this case, Miss Upton is quite capable of producing complex (and fully grammatical) sentences with multiple clauses when she’s speaking about something that she’s knowledgeable about and when she isn’t broken by overwhelming pressure and stagefright (assuming that we judge grammaticality by the rules of her native dialect, which might be somewhat different from standard English). After all, this is well within the capabilities of any human adult, except for those affected by very severe mental retardation.

    As for the “big subjects”, the older and more cynical I’m getting, the more it seems to me that the amount of time spent learning and thinking about them has a depressingly low correlation with the rationality and sensibility of the worldview one ends up with. After all, just look at all those leftist intellectuals that are so frequently targets of (usually well deserved) scorn on this blog.

  • Have to disagree, Ivan. I think ignorance of the rest of the world is not a good thing or even an indifferent thing. Life is not about increasing earning potentials, not even by a single cent, unless you are living on the brink of starvation, and I doubt you, or the delectable Lauren Caitlin Upton, are in that situation.

    To make a great many decisions meaningfully, be they political, moral or often even practical, knowing about the rest of the world can be quite… helpful. Being able to place, say, France, in the correct hemisphere is not a pre-requisite to knowing who Voltaire was or making sense of a news story about Muslim youths burning cars in Lyon or even making sense of where Madonna or perhaps the boy-band-de-jour actually is when Entertainment USA announced they are playing a gig in Paris… but it helps.

    In the globalised world of today, ignorance of the rest of the world is only ‘rational’ if you aspire to nothing more that the existence of a meat-robot flipping burgers for the rest of your life… and probably not even then.

    The exquisite LCU’s ignorance is every bit as unfortunate as the weird announcement of someone called Sherri Shepard announcing that nothing existed before Christ (which presumably includes the Old Testament?). No doubt she is making good money doing whatever it is she does regardless of her breathtaking ignorance but I remain to be convinced ignorance of even basic history or geography is rational at all.

    BTW a special shout out to ‘Jeb Stuart’ for the second funniest comment of the year. “No more brains that god gave grits”… I am so looking forward for the chance to use that one myself.

  • Ann NY

    If any of you were looking at the link I sent earlier, that was the American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler, not the beauty contestant. But they were both about maps, or geography..

  • Ann NY

    I find such ignorance inexcusable actually. Most people in the US are forced to pay for people like these to get an education, and they can’t even teach people simple geography. I guess you could use this as an example to get rid of government schools, although there is a strong moral case against them already.

  • Jim

    Ivan has nailed it, guys – sorry.

    Ignorance of geography (or anything else, for that matter) is inexcusable, is it? Who says? – and whence their mandate to make such a pronouncement? And what business is it of theirs, anyways?

    Like that video clip; Do You Know What Country, Budapest is the Capital Of? The Grade-3’er clearly did. Miss Blondie did not – and why should she? The Grade-3’er likely had it as a mid-term exam question and won’t remember it next year, either. I bet he knows a whole lot more about a bicycle than she does, too – but I bet she knows a whole lot more about a car, and a house, and paying for same.

    And me, I can answer any question correctly: “I don’t know – why?”

  • RAB

    Oh come off it! The two ladies are delectable, and I have no wish to put them down, but some folk are so dim, you worry how they feed themselves every day, or found their way home before the invention of Sat Nav.
    Rather like the Girl who won Celeb Big Brother, the one with Galloway in it.
    She spent three weeks in his constant presence and still thought he was in a rock band at the end of it.
    Forget Europe
    I warrant that these two delicious ladies would not be able to tell you what the State Capital of the state they were born in is.

  • Perry, I am all for the state getting out of the education business, but this has nothing to do with it. I can assure you she would not have done any better had she grown up in an ideal libertarian state.

    Quite. In an ideal libertarian state, in fact, it’s a safe bet her parents would have cut out the geography middleman and sent her straight to a school for teaching pretty people how to act the part. (At least, nothing in her current performance suggests daddy gets disappointed in her if she doesn’t do her homework.) However, I have to disagree with Alisa that this doesn’t help make the case against government schools. The point is that we the other taxpayers wouldn’t be forced to pay for her to go to school and not learn geography.

  • The point is that we the other taxpayers wouldn’t be forced to pay for her to go to school and not learn geography.

    And a very good point it is.

  • Ignorance of geography (or anything else, for that matter) is inexcusable, is it? Who says?

    Says me.

    – and whence their mandate to make such a pronouncement?

    Since when do people require a mandate to have an opinion? Do I have to hold a public vote first? Or do I have to go to the Official Department of Opinions and buy an ‘Opinions Licence’?

    And what business is it of theirs, anyways?

    It became the rest of the world’s business when Lauren Caitlin Upton decided to share her ignorance with us via the public media. If she didn’t want people to remark on her lack of knowledge, I doubt she was forced at gunpoint to go on TV and answer questions.

    However I am very glad she did because it gave me something to post about and she is very nice to look at. If she wasn’t so clueless, I probably would never have noticed her (so I suppose her seeming incoherence could be a cunning tactic, in which case I take it all back and applaud her daring and innovation as a self-promoter).

  • Brad

    Her failing is not an ignorance of geography, or even the sin of being flustered, though as a beauty contestant the question and answer portion is to indicate their poise under pressure, hers is the monstrosity of political correctness. Her lifeline in the middle of internal storm of doubt was to grab onto any morsel of Goodness she could drum up. To me it was revealing that it was really a stream of consciousness on her part and this is what came out. A fractured tape recording of Tranzi bullshit, imprinted on her mind by socialist education. Under pressure, this is what her brain came up with.

  • Very true, Brad, an excellent observation. It was a sort of spoken Rorschach test.

  • John K

    Now if they’d asked her about eye shadow, they may have got a sensible answer.

  • Quite so, Brad. I am considering taking the rest of my first comment back.

  • Millie Woods

    Jim, a person who uses anyways should got no right to comment so their/they’re/there!

  • Robert Sealey

    I feel rather sorry for this poor young woman.

    There was a time, not so long ago either, when her completely inane answer to the question would have been broadcast, would have drawn a few comments and would have been forgotten about by the following week. Now, thanks to the web, this will follow her round, conceivably for the rest of her life.

    Privacy seems to be pretty much dead: our indiscretions could stay with us forever, something we’re going to have to learn to live with.

    It didn’t happen in the way Orwell predicted, but Big Brother really is watching us.

  • Robert, speaking as someone who almost daily provides articles that can be used to hit me over the head with if I screw up (and I have on occasion), that is just what constitutes operating in the networked social realm of today.

    Unlike Orwell’s vision (which is indeed available for view via the CCTV obsessed panoptic state), if you want to keep a low profile, you actually can.

    Just don’t blog or go on television. That is a rather different proposition to Orwell’s 1984. The private sector ‘Big Brother’ only watches you if you jump up and down in front of him, unlike the State operated version.

  • It is ironic that actually you are selling ‘a blog for people with critically rational individualist perspective’ with the name and image of a young woman who hardly had made her consent to this performance. I guess her name and beauty increases Samizdata’s hits in the search engines. I think Miss Upton has been ashamed a million times for her TV performance and she would deserve it to be forgotten. All the former quotes of the day were much better. Anyway, I wish all readers a happy new year and hope for a better quote of the year in 2008.

  • Sunfish

    Since when do people require a mandate to have an opinion? Do I have to hold a public vote first? Or do I have to go to the Official Department of Opinions and buy an ‘Opinions Licence’?

    It’s not a license for you. The opinion itself needs to be checked. It’s kind of like getting a VIN verification when you buy a used car from another state.

    Did anybody notice that the quote reads an awful lot like a 1980’s Nintendo game, brought over from Japan and awkwardly translated? Reading through it, I expected to see “All your base are belong to us.”

  • Ivan

    RAB:

    Oh come off it! The two ladies are delectable, and I have no wish to put them down, but some folk are so dim, you worry how they feed themselves every day, or found their way home before the invention of Sat Nav.

    But does ignorance about geography and other erudite subjects really have implications on any practical everyday skills? I have no problem expressing informed opinions on a vast number of issues in geography, history, mathematics, natural sciences, politics, economics, philosophy… and yet in physical space, I keep getting lost all the time. :-) And I know people who are much more erudite than me, and also more confused and lost in just about any practical aspect of life. Some of them are even complete professional failures, despite having an amazing body of knowledge on an immense number of subjects (a phenomenon much more frequent in post-Communist Europe than in the West, and almost nonexistent in the Anglosphere).

    The only real “dimness” that Lauren Upton has demonstrated was her inability to weasel out when confronted with a puzzling question under an intense pressure in a public setting. Obviously, unless she improves in this regard, she’ll never succeed in any PR-intensive profession, but few people would do much better than her in a similar situation (just imagine yourself in her shoes).

  • Ivan

    Perry de Havilland:

    Have to disagree, Ivan. I think ignorance of the rest of the world is not a good thing or even an indifferent thing. Life is not about increasing earning potentials, not even by a single cent, unless you are living on the brink of starvation, and I doubt you, or the delectable Lauren Caitlin Upton, are in that situation.

    No argument there. In fact, if anything, I am probably spending too much time for my own good pursuing various professionally useless intellectual interests. The question, however, is whether we who choose to pursue erudition as a way of achieving fulfillment and entertainment in life are justified in pouring scorn on those who choose other ways.

    To make a great many decisions meaningfully, be they political, moral or often even practical, knowing about the rest of the world can be quite… helpful. Being able to place, say, France, in the correct hemisphere is not a pre-requisite to knowing who Voltaire was or making sense of a news story about Muslim youths burning cars in Lyon or even making sense of where Madonna or perhaps the boy-band-de-jour actually is when Entertainment USA announced they are playing a gig in Paris… but it helps.

    I think this is the heart of our disagreement. If I understand correctly, you seem to believe that if the average person in a society has a decent level of erudition, this will have a positive effect on their political and moral judgments, thus leading towards more sensible politics and — which should be the only thing that ultimately matters as far as politics is concerned — a more free and secure society. (By “secure” I mean secure against realistic violent threats, not “secure” in the nanny-statist sense.)

    But frankly, it seems to me that this is not the case. On the one hand, the societies that have managed to keep a relatively decent level of freedom during the past century, in which brutality and oppression reached historically unprecedented levels worldwide, certainly didn’t do so because their average citizens were unusually erudite and thus capable of right decisions. On the other hand, I can easily think of societies whose average citizen (let alone someone with an university degree!) would do much better on a quiz of general knowledge compared to any part of the Anglosphere, and which still embraced ideologies extremely hostile to freedom.

    This may not be the most cheerful conclusion that I’ve ever reached in my life, but it definitely seems to me that the level of freedom in a modern society will depend principally on people’s predispositions that are ingrained culturally and independent of their general erudition. After all, the greatest resistance to totalitarianism didn’t come from intellectuals (most of whom gladly embraced it in its heyday), but from the common folk who instinctively felt that it was contrary to their customs and traditional way of life. Also, as ignorant as Lauren Upton might be, assuming that she is a typical American girl, do you think that in things that really matter in one’s outlook on the world, you would find more in common with her or an extremely erudite intellectual with a leftist agenda?

    Or as another example, I come from former Yugoslavia, and you’re probably aware of what sorts of ideas have reigned in that part of the world in recent history. I’ve known, both personally and from the media, examples of people with utterly amazing erudition, which however didn’t prevent them from becoming maddened nationalist chauvinists. In fact, this is probably the principal reason why I’ve stopped appreciating erudition as such, except of course in a purely personal way, as something that makes interesting conversation partners out of people.

    In the globalised world of today, ignorance of the rest of the world is only ‘rational’ if you aspire to nothing more that the existence of a meat-robot flipping burgers for the rest of your life… and probably not even then.

    I think you’re exaggerating now. In many technical areas, one can achieve an amazing career while remaining scarily ignorant on just about any other subject. I’m an engineer living in Canada, and some of my colleagues here occasionally display levels of ignorance on non-technical subjects (such as history, geography, religion, economics, politics…) quite comparable to the worst examples derided in this thread. Still, it didn’t prevent them from getting advanced technical degrees, and I don’t see it interfering with their careers at all.

    Well, time to get ready for the New Year’s party (I’m five time zones West). :-) All the best in 2008 to all the readers, and especially contributors of this blog!

  • RAB

    Ivan, despite all the odds,
    I have had a very pleasurabble New Years Eve.
    I hope you have had one too!
    I am about to fall sideways, but before I do,
    The short answer is
    YES IT DOES!

  • Nontheist

    eloquently the making the case for home schooling.

    Eloquently the making the case…..???

    Yes, it’s pathetic when people can’t get simple language structure right, isn’t it?

  • Jim

    Heh. Perry, you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion, and you’re perfectly entitled to blog about it, as am I to poke it full of holes.

    The fact is, Lauren Caitlin Upton is far better equipped evolutionarily to get where she wants to go, than you or I – her lack of geography and inability to string together a coherent sentence notwithstanding. And evolutionarily speaking, were I to try to point-out her obvious shortcomings, I’d likely turn into a slobbering idiot myself perusing her obvious strengths – and if I did manage to get my “verbal” point across, I really really doubt she’d dash straight out and get some elocution books and stay up all night studying.

    So the proof of Ivan’s point is that the object of scorn, i.e. Lauren herself, doesn’t need (and would almost certainly ignore) any advice from us; she doesn’t require it to get what she wants. But continue with the scorn, by all means – you have every right! ;p

    Jim +

  • Rob

    Perry said:

    ” The exquisite LCU’s ignorance is every bit as unfortunate as the weird announcement of someone called Sherri Shepard announcing that nothing existed before Christ (which presumably includes the Old Testament?). No doubt she is making good money doing whatever it is she does regardless of her breathtaking ignorance but I remain to be convinced ignorance of even basic history or geography is rational at all.”

    Perry, I’m afraid you’re wrong on this one:
    John 1v1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God … v3 “Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made … v14 “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us..” NIV

    As I’m sure you’re aware the Word referred to here is Christ, so for a Christian is is entirely consistant with scripture to assert that, “nothing existed before Christ”.

  • Not convinced Jim. Ignorance is generally a negative survival trait, so the fact she has other positive survival traits (such as looking good) changes nothing.

    Also as there is some evidence that intelligence may be more hereditable from the mother, I am also not convinced buying futures on the Upton maternal gene-line is a good evolutionary investment, although it might be fun :-P

    That said, ignorance is not reliable evidence of stupidity. She may be intelligent for all I know and her cluelessness is purely the product of the quality of her educational conscription (which is actually where I would be inclined to place my bet).

  • so for a Christian is is entirely consistant with scripture to assert that, “nothing existed before Christ”.

    Which is why it’s all hilarious gibberish!

  • RobtE

    Hmm. What would happen if Miss Upton’s quote were given to John Prescott to read? Would they cancel each out and come out with something meaningful? Or would it set off a chain reaction of incomprehensibility that engulfed the known universe?

  • Kim du Toit

    Serves everyone right for expecting that any 20-year-old should have a coherent idea of how to fix the world’s problems.

    I’m still not sure that they should be allowed to drive a car, let alone vote.

  • Paul Marks

    The correct answer to the question the lady was asked was.

    “Because many Americans are not taught much about physical geography, either because not much time is spent on physical geography or because poor teaching methods are used”.

    Contrary to what some have said above, things taught well in childhood tend to stay with a person for life. So if they learn to find their own country on a map they will not forget in adult life (if they do it is often a sign of damage to the brain).

    The question did NOT test the knowledge of geography of the lady, it simply tested her ability to reason.

    A less good, but still acceptable, reply would have been.

    “I do not know”.

    This would not have shown any great abilty to reason, but it would have shown composure under stress.

    As for what the lady actually said…..

    Yes it was half remembered international welfarist propaganda – in a garbled form.